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No Good Deed Goes Unpunished—Why Buying a Bindle for a Friend is a Bad Idea

So you decided to do your friend a favor. You scored some marijuana or cocaine for personal use, and you picked up a bindle for him, too. You brought it to him, and he reimbursed you for his drugs. Suddenly, you’re under arrest for trafficking drugs.

Most people know that possession of certain drugs such as marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, and other drugs for personal use is illegal. What most people don’t know is that you don’t need to be caught with a large amount of these drugs for a prosecutor to charge you with felony drug possession or possession with the intent to sell or even drug trafficking.

Not all drug charges are the same

What’s the difference between possession, possession with the intent to sell or distribute, and trafficking? Not much. You can be charged with drug trafficking where there is an offer to sell or when there is  an actual sale of drugs, even if you were just picking up a bit extra for a friend who pays you for your trouble. A drug trafficking charge doesn’t require proof that you are a member of a drug gang or cartel, or that you even engaged in this kind of transaction before this one-time incident. To further complicate this, Ohio makes a distinction between aggravated drug trafficking and simple drug trafficking, depending on what drugs were offered or sold.

Felony drug possession can be based on a miniscule amount of drugs in your possession. For example, under current Ohio law, you could face felony charges for these small amounts:

  • Heroin — Any amount of heroin
  • Cocaine — Any amount of cocaine
  • Marijuana — 200 grams or more
  • Hashish (solid form) — 10 grams or more

How do the courts distinguish between possession for personal use and possession with the intent to distribute or sell? The key is usually the amount of drugs, but other evidence can be used to prove intent to distribute. The presence of such simple things as a list of names, or sandwich baggies, or a scale, in proximity to drugs can result in a charge of possession with intent to distribute or sell.

Don’t face drug charges alone. Narcotics charges are tricky, the evidentiary issues complex, and the sentences draconian, with many charges carrying mandatory minimum prison sentences of five years or more. Having an experienced, hard-hitting Ohio drug defense attorney from Yavitch & Palmer, Co., LPA can make the difference between a stretch in prison and a reduction or dismissal of the charges

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